Vintage-style lights. Source:
Presentations, Sustainability, Work

IxDA Sydney—June 2016 presentation + notes

Last Thursday night I was privileged to present a short talk at the June IxDA Sydney meetup. (Thanks Joe!)

The slides from my talk are presented below:

Or you can download the slides, along with my speaker notes (PDF 2.8MB), which includes links to a lot of the inspirational projects I highlighted. Continue reading

Blurred city lights. Source:

How much impact might savings “within the walls” have?

In a recent post I commented:

If developers aren’t prioritising sustainability due to a perceived lack of market demand, and owners corporations’ focus is elsewhere, where else can efficiencies be gained? What about what happens “within the walls” of the apartments themselves?

While the individual savings might be small, the cumulative benefits might be significant. Just how significant is unclear, however. So it’s hard to judge just what sort of impact energy efficiency measures across a medium- or high-density residential complex would be. I did a bit of digging but couldn’t find readily available stats. Are savings in this context just going to be a “band-aid” solution? Or can it make a significant contribution?

Let’s assume, for a moment, that the cumulative effect is significant enough to warrant attention.

Ahh, assumptions. We have to make them sometimes to get moving, but it’s always best to close the loop, through research, if we can.

I spent a little bit of time the other day looking into this, seeing if I could source stats or research that examine the difference in energy consumption in a medium- and/or high-density residential environment (e.g. apartments) versus low-density (e.g. houses), and found some interesting tidbits… Continue reading

Electricity wall outlet. Source:
Presentations, Sustainability

IxDA Sydney presentation

Over the course of a few recent posts I’ve explored some of the challenges with reducing electricity consumption in a high-density residential environment.

On 2 June (Thursday next week) I’ll be diving into this problem space a little bit further at the IxDA Sydney meetup, and demonstrating some recent work and early directions that have been emerging from our consideration of this design challenge.

My talk is titled: Ambient interfaces: Influencing energy behaviours in urban environments Continue reading

Dots, camera, mirror. Image source:
Business 2.0, Sustainability

A (financially) sustainable internet of things (pt. 2)

I “grew up on the internet” during an era when open source and ideas like the Creative Commons were just the “way things were done”. There were often warnings from key influencers like Dan Gillmor, Dave Winer, Doc Searls and others about the threats impending on this ethos and our rights as citizens of the internet. I hold these values pretty dear to my heart.

So I’m finding it challenging to reconcile the conundrum relating to internet of things business models that revolve around the data collected.

While the IoT ideas I am experimenting with may never come to market (I did say “early experiments” in my last post, right?), I am thinking about business models etc. If, as I’ve argued previously, the return on investment rationale doesn’t stack up for energy monitoring devices in an apartment/small-space living context, one thought is that it would be advantageous to cross-subsidise the costs through other means. For example, to provide the device at close to cost (or less than cost, possibly even free) and generating revenue through “other means.” Those other means are likely to involve some way of leveraging the data you have collected. Continue reading

Grid of connecting nodes on a screen. Image source:
Business 2.0, Sustainability

A (financially) sustainable internet of things (pt. 1)

I read with interest a recent post by, well… (ahem)… The Internet of Shit (herein IoS) that calls out the internet of things’ dirty little secret.

The article starts by making some (valid) points about the plethora of devices that are starting to emerge that are connected to the internet for no real purpose or value. Sure, they might be cute or novel (and sometimes that can help us rethink things or look at the everyday from a different perspective). But in a time of relative affluence, and declining wellbeing and environmental health, it begs real questions about value and the need for more crap.

But the crux of IoS’s argument runs a little deeper, looking more specifically at how internet of things (IoT) products are often only financially sustainable by “monetize the monotonous that was never even interesting to any at-scale business”. Continue reading